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Orlande de Lassus
Lamentatione Hieremiae Prophetae • Primi Diei
Lectio I

Cecilia McDowall
I know that my redeemer liveth

Orlande de Lassus
Lamentatione Hieremiae Prophetae • Primi Diei
Lectio II

Rudolf Mauersberger
Wie liegt die Stadt so wüste

Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade
Vigil I

Orlande de Lassus
Lamentatione Hieremiae Prophetae • Primi Diei
Lectio III

William Byrd
Ne irascaris Domine • Civitas sancti tui

James MacMillan

Programme Notes

Dunedin Consort’s strapline, ‘Hear things differently’, isn’t just a piece of marketing-speak — it is an objective and a mantra that we try to bear in mind across all of our activities — in concerts, recordings and learning and participatory events alike. We are determined that, as well as being of the highest standard, all of our performances should offer listeners compelling musical experiences and present fresh perspectives on familiar music. In putting this programme together, we have kept this ambition in mind throughout — from conception through to recording.

Although this programme was conceived long before the present lockdown, in juxtaposing music by the sixteenth-century composers Orlande de Lassus and William Byrd with works by contemporary composers (including the world premiere of a new work we have commissioned specially from Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade), we found ourselves offering a meditation on the relative emptiness that has characterised our city centres over the past few months. For many of the singers involved in this programme, this recording was the first time they have sung together since March. There is something intensely poignant in hearing different, independent voices coming together in the Renaissance polyphony —particularly since the singers are spatially separated by two metres — and in the way they collectively articulate first-person texts, such as the third section of Lassus’s setting of the Lamentations.

Towards the end of his life, Orlande de Lassus was already being celebrated across Europe as one of the most capable and versatile composers of all time. For the last 30 years of his career, he was employed as director of music at the ducal court of Munich, where he produced a significant body of liturgical music. However, he was also highly regarded as a composer of secular music, with his madrigals and vernacular song settings pushing at the limits of contemporary musical boundaries, and exploring new ways of setting texts for vocal ensembles.

The five poems that make up the Lamentations of Jeremiah appear in the Old Testament. They mourn the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which occurred during the 580s BC. The Lamentations were subsequently adopted by the Christian church as part of the Holy Week liturgy, and the texts regarded as prefiguring the treatment of Christ, with the city of Jerusalem as an allegory for his body. While Renaissance liturgies for Holy Week typically eschewed complex polyphonic music, composers were allowed an exception for the Lamentations, resulting in some of the most exquisite vocal music in the repertoire. Even the Hebrew numbers that preface each section were set with careful musical attention.

Lassus composed two sets of Lamentations, for four and five voices respectively. In this performance, we perform the three sections that make up the five-voice setting for Maundy Thursday. For the most part, Lassus stays well within the stile antico, pondering the text’s resonances in a traditional but deftly crafted imitative framework. While he does not resort to any of the pictorial devices of his madrigalian style, the three sections offer a powerful meditation on the themes of loneliness and despair associated with seeing the desolated city.

Cecilia McDowall studied at the University of Edinburgh. Her vocal music has a distinctive style that fuses well-defined individual melodic lines into an arresting harmonic soundworld. I know that my redeemer liveth was commissioned by Epsom Choral Society to be performed alongside Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem. At the premiere of Brahms’s work in Bremen in 1868, the church authorities insisted on the inclusion of Handel’s setting of the same text from Messiah, providing the inspiration for McDowall’s piece. Amidst a series of held drones, individual melodic lines spontaneously arise and dissipate, and are gradually extended into longer lines. The climax comes in a slightly faster central section, with the voices imitating one another with the line ‘For now is Christ risen’.

Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade is an Edinburgh-based composer and cellist. She studied at the University of Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music, and is currently completing a doctorate in Music Composition at Princeton University. Ninfea is a composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne, and her work is supported by the PRS Foundation’s Composers’ Fund.

Vigil I was commissioned by Dunedin Consort in 2020 specially for this programme. It sets the first poem in the sequence Vigilien by Rainer Maria Rilke. These poems were published in Rilke’s Larenopfer (1895), a cycle of 90 poems that turn their gaze towards Rilke’s native city of Prague at the close of the nineteenth century. The first poem in Vigilien speaks of dusk becoming night — of an atmosphere that is charged, wakeful, and expectant.

Ninfea’s composition employs both Rilke’s German text and an English translation by Jessie Lamont from 1918. Three vocal quartets interweave the German and English texts, making references to textures inspired by Lutheran chorales. Click here to watch a pre-concert conversation, in which Ninfea discusses the work with conductor Nicholas Mulroy.

Rudolf Mauersberger was one of the foremost German choral conductors and composers during the years between the two World Wars. From 1930, he was director of the famed Dresdner Kreuzchor, and in 1933 was compelled to join the Nazi party. However, there is a significant body of evidence demonstrating that he attempted to limit Nazi ideology among the boys, and he continued to give performances of works by composers whose music was prohibited, including Mendelssohn, as late as 1938.

Mauersberger composed his motet Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst across Good Friday and Holy Saturday in 1945, following the devastating bombing of Dresden that had been carried out by the Allied Forces some six weeks previously. Taking words from the Lamentations that refer to God’s destruction of the city of Jerusalem, Mauersberger’s work acquires an even greater impact with the knowledge that the end of the war was just six months away, and the extent of the damage and loss sustained by the composer’s own city (it is worth examining these documentary photographs ). While Mauersberger’s tonal language was audibly influenced by the German Romantic choral tradition, there is also the clear influence of medieval music, with the voices shadowing each other in parallel motion. This gives the music a haunting bareness and a sense of timelessness, as the voices ask for forgiveness and invoke God to ‘bring us back’ to him.

Widely known to have been a recusant Catholic, William Byrd composed a series of motets during the 1580s based on the theme of the destruction of Jerusalem. While much has been written speculating on the allusions of these in terms of Byrd’s own personal faith, there is no conclusive evidence either to support or disprove such readings. Regardless, Ne irascaris Domine and its accompanying second part Civitas sancti tui present an example of Byrd’s polyphonic writing at its most arresting. Opening with the lower voices at the very bottom of their register, Byrd paints the vivid imagery of the text by using a genuine musical chiaroscuro. While the majority of the motet is polyphonic, with the five musical voices engaging in an eloquent musical dialogue, at the climax (‘Sion, desert facta est’), Byrd groups them together into two ensembles, with the text clearly declaimed in block chords in a rare moment of unity, before the texture breaks down again into five discrete parts.

James MacMillan was born in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, and studied at the universities of Edinburgh and Durham. Steeped in his own Catholic faith, his music draws on the rich tradition of polyphony and plainsong that historically constituted the church’s liturgy. His music makes use of the same compositional techniques as Lassus’s and Byrd’s, giving each voice its own individual identity as well as a key part to play in the creation of larger-scale sonic tableaux.

MacMillan’s Miserere, setting Psalm 51, was commissioned for The Sixteen and Harry Christophers to be performed at the 2009 Flanders Festival in Antwerp. Scored in eight parts, it draws out the powerful emotions of the psalmist, with increasingly harmonically complex sections that successively explore grief, regret, remorse and — finally — hope. MacMillan’s work makes clear allusions to Gregorio Allegri’s famous setting of the same psalm, particularly in the chanted falsobordone sections, offering a moment of contemplative repose as the lower and upper voices exchange verses, and the short but athletic solo sections that follow. While the text journeys through some of the human psyche’s darkest places, MacMillan’s setting presents a deeply spiritual reading that ultimately concludes with redemption and a sense of palpable optimism.

— David Lee

Lamentatione Hieremiae Prophetae • Primi Diei

Lectio I

Incipit lamentiones Hieremiae Prophetae.

Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo!
Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium;
princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.

Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrimae ejus in maxillis ejus:
non est qui consoletur eam, ex omnibus caris ejus;
omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam, et facti sunt ei inimici.

Migravit Judas propter afflictionem, et multitudinem servitutis;
habitavit inter gentes, nec invenit requiem:
omnes persecutores ejus apprehenderunt eam inter angustias.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

Lamentation of the Prophet Jeremiah • First Days

Lesson I

Here beginneth the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah.

How lonely sits the city that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal.

She weeps bitterly in the night, tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers she has none to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude;
she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place;
her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God.

I know that my redeemer liveth

I know that my redeemer liveth
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
and though worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead
and become the first fruits of them that sleep.

Lamentatione Hieremiae Prophetae • Primi Diei

Lectio II

Recordata est Jerusalem dierum afflictionis suae,
et praevaricationis, omnium desiderabilium suorum, quae habuerat a diebus antiquis,
cum caderet populus ejus in manu hostili, et non esset auxiliator:
viderunt eam hostes, et deriserunt sabbata ejus.

Peccatum peccavit Hierusalem, propterea instabilis facta est:
omnes qui glorificabant eam spreverunt illam: quia viderunt ignominiam eius:
ipsa autem gemens et conversa retrorsum.

Sordes eius in pedibus eius: nec recordata est finis sui.
Deposita est vehementer: non habens consolatorem.
Vide Domine afflictionem meam: quoniam erectus est inimicus.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

Lamentation of the Prophet Jeremiah • First Days

Lesson II

Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and bitterness
all the precious things that were hers from days of old.
When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was none to help her,
the foe gloated over her, mocking at her downfall.

Jerusalem sinned grievously, therefore she became filthy;
all who honoured her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness;
yea, she herself groans, and turns her face away.

Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her doom;
therefore her fall is terrible, she has no comforter.
O Lord, behold my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God.

Wie liegt die stadt so wüst

Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst, die voll Volks war.
Alle ihre Tore stehen öde.
Wie liegen die Steine des Heiligtums
vorn auf allen Gassen zerstreut.
Er hat ein Feuer aus der Höhe
in meine Gebeine gesandt und es lassen walten.Ist das die Stadt, von der man sagt,
sie sei die Allerschönste, der sich
das ganze Land freuet.

Sie hätte nicht gedacht,
daß es ihr zuletzt so gehen würde;
sie ist ja zu greulich heruntergestoßen
und hat dazu niemand, der sie tröstet.

Darum ist unser Herz betrübt
und unsere Augen sind finster geworden:
Warum willst du unser so gar vergessen
und uns lebenslang so gar verlassen!

Bringe uns, Herr, wieder zu dir,
daß wir wieder heimkommen!
Erneue unsre Tage wie vor alters.
Ach Herr, siehe an mein Elend!

How lonely sits the city

How lonely sits the city that was full of people.
All her gates are desolate.
How the stones of her sanctuary lie
Scattered at the head of every street.
He sent fire from on high;
into my bones he made it descend.

Is this the city which was called
the most beautiful, that in which
the whole land rejoices?

She had not thought
that this would be her final end;
therefore her fall is terrible,
and she has no one to comfort her.

This is why our heart has become sick,
These things have caused our eyes to grow dim.
Why do you forget us for ever,
why do you so long forsake us!

Bring us, O Lord, back to you,
that we come home again!
Renew our days as of old.
O Lord, behold my affliction!

 Vigil I

Die falben Felder schlafen schon,
mein Herz nur wacht allein;

der Abend refft im hafen schon
sein rotes Segel ein.

Traumselige Vigilie!
Jetzt wallt die Nacht durchs Land;

der Mond, die Weiße Lilie,
blüht auf in ihrer Hand.

Vigil I

The bleak fields are asleep.
My heart alone wakes;

The evening in the harbour
Down his red sails takes.

Night, guardian of dreams.
Now wanders through the land;

The moon, a lily white.
Blossoms within her hand.

Lamentatione Hieremiae Prophetae • Primi Diei 

Lectio III

O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus! quoniam vindemiavit me, ut locutus est Dominus, in die irae furoris sui.

De excelso misit ignem in ossibus meis et erudivit me: expandit rete pedibus meis: convertit me retrorsum: posuit me desolatam tota die maerore confectam.

Vigilavit jugum iniquitatum mearum; in manu ejus convolutae sunt, et impositae collo meo. Infirmata est virtus mea: dedit me Dominus in manu de qua non potero surgere.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

Lamentation of the Prophet Jeremiah • First Days

Lesson III

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.

From on high he sent fire; into my bones he made it descend; he spread a net for my feet; he turned me back;
he has left me stunned, faint all the day long.

The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God.

Ne irascaris Domine

Ne irascaris, Domine, satis
et ne ultra memineris iniquitatis nostrae.
Ecce, respice, populus tuus omnes nos.
Civitas sancti tui facta est deserta.
Sion deserta facta est, Jerusalem desolata est.

Be not angry, O Lord

Be not angry, O Lord, still,
neither remember our iniquity for ever.
Behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
The holy cities are a wilderness.
Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.

Miserere (Psalm 51)

1 Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam.
2 Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo munda me.
3 Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
4 Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci: ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
5 Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum: et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
6 Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti: incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
7 Asperges me hyssopo et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
8 Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exultabunt ossa humiliata.
9 Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
10 Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
11 Ne projicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
12 Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
13 Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
14 Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae: et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam.
15 Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
16 Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique: holocaustis non delectaberis.
17 Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
18 Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion: ut aedificentur muri Jersualem.
19 Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

Have Mercy upon me, O God (Psalm 51)

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness:
According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Performers & Credits

Nicholas Mulroy director

Rachel Ambrose Evans
Sally Carr*
Claire Evans

Jessica Gillingwater
Lucy Goddard
Hannah Leggatt*

Malcolm Bennett
David Lee
Sam Leggett*

Tim Edmundson*
Malachy Frame
Ben McKee

* Bridging the Gap 20-21 participant


Video Production
Arms & Legs

Directed by
Ross Addy and Tommy Slack

Motion Graphics & Titles
Bartosz Liszka

Audio and Post-Production
Matthew Swan

Lighting Design
Jamie Heseltine

Fogbank Projects


Supported by
Binks Trust
Creative Scotland
Dunard Fund
Garrick Trust
Idlewild Trust

Artist Biographies

Nicholas Mulroy
Born in Liverpool, Nicholas read Modern Languages at Cambridge and studied voice at London’s Royal Academy of Music. As a tenor, he has sung at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, the Paris Opéra, and Boston Symphony Hall. He has sung Bach’s Evangelist, in both the John and Matthew Passions, with many of the leading conductors of the day, including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Marc Minkowski, Richard Tognetti, Hans-Christoph Rademann and Laurence Cummings. He has been a frequent guest at Wigmore Hall, singing repertoire from Schubert to Stephen Hough, and from Purcell to Fauré. Nicholas has sung at opera houses including Glyndebourne, Paris’ Opéra Comique, Copenhagen, Toulouse. His discography encompasses music across seven centuries, including Handel’s Messiah and Acis and Galatea, Monteverdi Vespers, and Astor Piazzolla’s unique masterpiece María de Buenos Aires.

Alongside his singing career, over the last ten years Nicholas has developed his work as a director. He was Director of Chapel Music at Girton College, Cambridge (where he is now a Musician in Residence), and is Associate Director of the Cambridge University Chamber Choir, whom he has led in a wide repertoire, and his work as a guest conductor has taken him to the USA, Malta, Poland, and Spain. As a singer-director, he has performed Bach’s Passions, Purcell odes, Handel oratorios, and is devoted to the collaborative energy and artistic autonomy that this approach, at its best, brings. He has led Dunedin Consort in several programmes, and is delighted to be the group’s Associate Director, thereby extending a connection with the group that stretches back almost twenty years.

Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade
Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade is a composer and cellist based in Edinburgh. Composing for old, new, and damaged musical instruments, her past projects have included works for symphony orchestra, viols and theorbo, string and percussion quartets, a homemade glass harmonica, flower pots, and a fire-damaged piano.

Ninfea is a recipient of the Psappha Ensemble’s 2020-21 Peter Maxwell Davies Commission for which she is writing a piece for sitar and chamber ensemble. The project has also been supported by the PRS Foundation’s Composers’ Fund, enabling her to take sitar lessons with Jasdeep Singh Degun. She is currently a composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne and the Presteigne Festival’s ‘Evolve’ composer for 2020-25. In 2018 she was commissioned to write Table Talk, a large ensemble brass work for the Tanglewood Music Festival, and her composition Hatters was programmed at the festival the following year, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra percussionists. Her current commissions include works for the Chelsea Music Festival in New York, Glyndebourne Youth Opera, Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, and the 2019-20 LSO Panufnik Scheme. Five Letters from Aubrey Beardsley, her song cycle based on letters by the 1890s art nouveau illustrator, was shared online in 2020.

Trained in cello performance and the academic study of music, Ninfea holds degrees from the University of Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She is currently a doctoral candidate in music composition at Princeton University.